Showing posts with label easy dinners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy dinners. Show all posts

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tangy sesame chicken thighs

Those of you who remember my error in buying the super-giant size bottle of Sriracha Sauce (for the recipe that called for 1 teaspoon) may not be surprised to discover that I recently bought enough sesame seeds to fill two large mason jars and then promptly forgot what they were intended for.  


 Sesame seeds do not keep forever and we don’t use them often.  I’m not sure why that is because sesame seeds are delicious and add an easy touch to many dishes.  This week we have added them to our favorite salmon recipe and now are adapting that marinade to chicken thighs.  I toyed with adding a bit of Sriracha sauce to the ingredients, but decided to give you a break.

You eagle-eyed readers will note that there are only six chicken thighs in the photos and the recipe calls for eight.  Eight would have been perfect!  We loved this chicken and plan on having it often!

Sesame Chicken Thighs 


1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated or minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (if you use thighs with bone and/or skin, you will need to cook longer)  
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds – or enough to coat chicken pieces
2 thinly sliced green onions, green part only


      Preheat the oven to 400°F.
     While it’s preheating, toast the sesame seeds on a pan until browned. They burn quickly.
      6 – 8    minutes should do it. Remove when toasted.

Slice green onions.

Place the chicken in an oven safe baking dish. You can line it with foil.  We forgot.
Mix the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, cider vinegar and sesame oil in a small dish.  Pour over chicken.  Marinate as long as you can in the fridge, up to overnight. 

 If you can’t marinate, it will still be pretty good.  You can take it this far by marinating in a zippered bags and transferring to baking dish later. 

Bake for about twenty minutes. Use meat thermometer to make sure they’re cooked. Remove and let rest. Top with toasted sesame seeds.  Add green onions just before serving.

 This is good with crisp salad, rice and tomatoes.  Enjoy!

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We love your suggestions and comments. Come on by and tell us what you would add or subtract or substitute in this recipe. Not everyone loves every ingredient!

In case you don't know, Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between  me, Mary Jane Maffini, and my daughter Victoria. Together we write the book collector mysteries.   We think that reading them is like taking a lovely trip to a mysterious place where books are everything and, yes, murder happens and great meals are served and some relatives are not to be trusted. Of course, justice prevails in the end and books are loved.


The book collector mysteries are fun, easy to read and surprising too. All five titles are available in print, e-book and audio format. Don't miss out.  You can get to meet Peachy (posing below) aka Walter the Pug.  Watch out for the Siamese cats - one is good and one will get you!

Saturday, November 28, 2015



Don’t know about you, but our turkey’s already been made into sandwiches and now is soup in the freezer. We do not have the urge for more poultry today.  But Pasta sounds perfect on a blustery fall day.

We love an easy pasta dinner, but we don’t always feel like meat or tomato sauce.  This variation has become a new favorite around here.  Best of all, most of it is made with staples.  We usually have prosciutto and when the mushrooms look good, we snap them up.  Of course, you can vary this dish with different veggies and could use ham or bacon too instead of prosciutto.   It’s easy and fast.  We did a bit of chopping, but team work made short work of that.  Nudge. Wink.

As with many of our made-up recipes that evolve over time, this one gives you lots of leeway with amounts and ingredients.  Go ahead and add garlic if you like, but every now and then we like a break from it.


All you need is:

½ pound fettuccine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
4 slices thin-cut prosciutto (or bacon or ham if that works instead)
1 lb mixed mushrooms, sliced (we used white and brown mushrooms – next time we’ll try some others) we saved time with pre-sliced, but you must suit yourself.
2 whole jarred peppers, sliced (or 1 fresh red pepper, seeded and sliced in strips)
1/2 cup frozen peas
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp chopped parsley (or 1 tbsp from a tube, our favorite way to cut corners)
S & P to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan PLUS more for serving

Here we go!

Put on the water for the pasta.
Heat oil in a large skillet.  Slice prosciutto into strips.

When oil is hot, reduce heat to medium and sauté strips and green onion until onion is softened and prosciutto is crisp.  Remove to a plate.
Add salt (to suit yourself) to boiling water and cook pasta until just al dente according to package direction.  This is about 10 minutes for our pasta and pasta cooker.  

Heat butter until foaming.  Sauté mushrooms and parsley on medium for 8 – 10 minutes.  If you are using fresh peppers, cook with mushrooms.

Add peas and lemon juice to veggies and return the prosciutto strips to the skillet.

Season with S and P to suit your taste and diet.  
When pasta is al dente, drain and add to the skillet stirring to distribute veggies.

Add ¼ Parmesan and  mix in well.  
Serve and add extra grated Parmesan to each plate.  You can go upscale and grate fresh Parmesan for each plate. That kicks it up a notch.


That mysterious figure known as "Victoria" "Abbott" is really us: artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane, author three other mystery series and  two dozen short stories.



Get to know us in our mysterious and sometimes mapcap world of the Book Collector Mysteries, where book collecting can be deadly.  Like the others, the latest,our latest, The  Marsh Madness is available in print, ebook and audio. 

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

How easy is that? It's so easy that ...


You can make it in someone else's kitchen! Foolproof.

That's what we like.

Say hello to garlic and lemon chicken with vegetables from Victoria Abbott

MJ's on holiday, visiting her brother and enjoying the beautiful scenery and charming communities of Nova Scotia.  Following eight days of eating in restaurants and other peoples' homes during the trip, she finally offered to make dinner. 

But what to make in an unfamiliar kitchen? She figured she couldn't go wrong with this recipe.  All that's really essential is a chicken, two lemons, olive oil  and garlic. You can switch up the veggies depending on what you have. Ten minutes and it's ready for the oven. Truth in advertising: the DH prepared the vegetables.

Sometimes the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. This is one of those recipes!   If she ever writes that chicken mystery, this will be included for sure.  As you know lemons make magic and the lemon garlic marinade is the key. As mentioned, you could vary the vegetables and use other herbs if you want.  We certainly switched it up every time we made it and look forward to trying it with sweet potatoes and zucchini at home. 


6 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound trimmed green beans
1 red pepper (diced) – this is optional
8 small red potatoes quartered (or 5 medium cut in six pieces each)
4 chicken breasts or 1 chicken cut in pieces (about 3 pounds)
Thyme sprigs


Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. On our experiment on the road, I had to use two medium baking dishes. 

Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.


In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper;   

Add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Do the same with the red pepper (if using). Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. 

Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken. Arrange thyme springs if that suits you.



Roast for 50 minutes until potatoes are cooked 
and chicken is browned. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender and browned. 

Divide chicken among four plates; divide the green beans, red peppers and potatoes equally. Serve warm.

MJ is having a very tasty trip with lovely meals and is promising to share recipes in the months to follow.

Thanks for coming by!  Here's a little bit more about Victoria Abbott, current queen of all things chicken


Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between Victoria Maffini and her mother,  Mary Jane Maffini (who insists all of this IS on her diet).. The Christie Curse, their first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 and  The Sayers Swindle, the second in the series will be out in December 2013. Please let them know how you like it.

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Pleaase note that Walter the Pug in the series is a dead ringer for Peachy, Victoria's new best friend.  
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